When I was a kid, Myspace was released, and everyone became connected almost overnight. It was an overload of weird people, bands, self expression, and the “Top 8” list. I was about fourteen at the time, and already mastered how to successfully HTML customize my page. Child geniuses of generation Y began the transition into the digital era. I was connected with all of my high school friends, and had random requests from students in other countries. I thought that was cool; the world seemed so much smaller, and so much more accessible.
This random kid – some blonde Irish boy – found me in the cyber world, and I immediately learned what it was like to stalk people on the internet. I went through his plethera of Irish high school students, and found a strapping boy named David. I requested him, he accepted, and then sent me a message, “Do I know you?” I explained myself, he seemed cool, and we kept in casual adolescent touch for the remainder of our high school days.
When I went to college, I traded in Myspace for Facebook, and began, once again, the adding of schoolmates, old friends, family, etc. Several months passed before I received a friend request. David —- has sent you a friend request. I had no idea who it was, but accepted anyway. I lurked on his page only to realize this was the same David I befriended on the internet years earlier! He still wanted to be friends! I was so very excited. We kept in touch on and off for the duration of our college years, always trying to get together in a country, always failing to do so. When I was in Europe, David was in the United States. When I returned home, he returned to Ireland. This back and forth continued for years until I announced to him that Candice and I would be in Dublin for ten days in September of 2013.
We set up a day and a place via Facebook to meet for beers and actually meet. I purposely didn’t tell Candice until the day of that I had never actually seen Dave in person before, but I assured her we would be fine.
“What if he isn’t who he says he is?”
“Well, we’ve been friends since the days of Myspace, so if he’s faking it, it’s pretty elaborate.”
We were scheduled to meet up at Fitzsimon’s in Temple Bar for some roof top drinks, and I without a phone, searched the crowd in hopes of finding a gentleman who resembled my David. All of a sudden, there he was! He looked just like his photos which seemed weird for me to think at the time, because I had only known him through his photos for almost nine years. We hugged like old friends, I introduced David to Candice, who seemed just as shocked as me, and we proceeded to the rooftop with our Bulmer’s and ale.
It’s difficult to just start with casual, light conversation when the person you’re sitting across from has known you – and known nothing about you – for almost a decade. We followed each other’s lives for years, never really knowing if we were to meet, and yet while we were present two feet apart from each other, I realized I knew nothing about him.
“Where do you work?” This quasi blind date began slowly, yet comfortably, as we unwound ourselves in the cool Dublin air filled with scents of smoke and street food, alcohol loosening our lips and easing our tensions. Candice sat beside me, hard cider in hand, and observed contentedly as my long-time friend and I became friends again. Dave glanced periodically at his cellphone, expecting the call from his girlfriend, Tanis, who was due to meet up with us. When she finally did arrive, he left to go meet her and Candice and I turned to one another in equal disbelief.
“Do you think he’s actually coming back?”
“I’m more concerned about his girlfriend. I mean, he just met two random American chicks on a rooftop. What if she hates us?”
“I can’t believe he’s real. I really thought you were going to be catfished.”
David returned with Tanis and we exchanged pleasantries, as she assumed the role of his personal Candice and sat silently while David and I tried to piece together years, filling in our guests on how we kept missing each other and “who requested who first.”
“I’ll go grab another round, be right back.” All of a sudden we were left absent the non-awkward glue of this engagement, across from the girlfriend.
“Thanks for being so cool about this. Like, we really thought you were going to hate us for ; meeting up with David; Two random American chicks and all…” Tanis looked pleasantly across at the both of us. “Well, technically speakin’, you’ve known him longer than I have.” The three of us shared a laugh, and by the time David returned, we were all old friends.